concert version for voices and instruments
York Early Music Festival
Wednesday, 10th July 2013 7.30pm
In 2012, Stevie Wishart directed her group Sinfonye in 'Vespers for St.Hildegard', a new composition to mark the year in which Hildegard, the 12th Century composer, nun and visionary, was declared both a Saint and a Doctor of the Church : 34th doctor, 4th woman & 1st composer.
Stevie's 'Vespers' were recorded in this vocal setting and released by DECCA : 'HILDEGARD - Vespers for St.Hildegard' and taken to Rome, where they were performed in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI at St.Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.
From Rome to York ... Stevie now directs her Sinfonye along with the the University of York Chamber Choir in an extended concert version for voices and instruments in the glorious surroundings of York Minster the largest Gothic Cathedral north of the Alps. The music, for voices and medieval instruments including harp, organ and bells, is based on the Benedictine service of Vespers and consists of psalms, antiphons and canticles, interweaving plainchant, polyphony and some of Hildegard''s own melodies.
“5 Stars - ’ambient’ re-imaginings that give medievalism a modern twist…the voices of Sinfonye follow the melismatic, often wide-ranging lines with precision, fluency and sensitivity….I have a funny feeling that this disc could become a hit.” CD: Hildegard, Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph, 26 Oct 2012
Stevie Wishart was educated at Cambridge and Oxford universities and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, before studying composition and electronic music at the University of York. She then studied improvised and aleatoric music with John Cage and David Tudor. As a composer, performer and improviser she explores medieval and contemporary extremes, using ancient instruments such as the hurdy gurdy, as well as electronic and computer music technologies. She has composed for early and modern music ensembles and also dance companies. She has appeared throughout Europe, USA and Australia; has had residencies at IRCAM in Paris, ZKM in Karlsruhe, ADK Berlin and Mills College, California; and has worked with creative artists such as Wayne McGregor, Philippe Starck, John Tilbury and Fred Frith.
A champion of St.Hildegard of Bingen, Stevie has performed her music in new performing editions across the globe. She was commissioned by the BBC for the 2011 Proms to write a new work based on texts by Hildegard, premiered by the BBC Singers and Sinfonye under Robert Hollingworth. With Sinfonye, which she founded, she has recorded many cds, including Bella Domna, and a series of the complete works of Hildegard of Bingen for Celestial Harmonies. Autumn 2012 saw the release of 'Hildegard' for Decca, featuring Stevie’s new Vespers for Saint Hildegard; released to coincide with performances at St.Peter’s Basilica for the Pope and across Rome to celebrate Hildegard as a new saint and on her becoming a Doctor of the Church. They also gave a special performance for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Stevie Wishart is currently working on a number of projects reflecting a passion for finding compositional inspiration in political and environmental issues.